We all have busy lives, and mine is no exception. Morning devotion was something I use to do on the fly but now I really do start my day with a little more “quality” God-time. I get up a little earlier, fix a cup of coffee, and and read my devotion book. This morning was no different or so I thought. As I was reading and praying, I became increasingly grateful for my Bible study group leader and our group. Wow, me reading and praying before my day has even started and not just when I needed it. I felt compelled to express my gratefulness, so I sent my group leader an email. Little did I know that when I hit the “send” button the events that were about to unfold. After hitting “send,” the very next thing that pops into my in-box is an email from her – Jana. I thought, hum, we are both in email mode, how funny. In the email was a paragraph asking if anyone in the group would like to share with the church what our Bible study has meant to them. My immediate thought was oh no, surely God doesn’t want me doing this. After all, I have a medical condition that affects how my brain and my mouth work (or doesn’t work) when I speak in certain situations. I was so grateful I was on vacation when our group did the taping for the Women’s Ministry on “Unglued!” So I ignored it and carried on with my morning routine. While showering I continued talking to God asking “ok Lord, what do you have planned for me today?” As I stepped out of the shower I stepped into accepting God’s plan. I texted Jana and asked if she had seen my email. She hadn’t. After reading it she texted me back, and we both knew that this surely was God. No, it was not coincidence. It was God’s perfect timing. It was God working around me and in me, but I still had a choice to make. To step out of my comfort zone and be obedient or not. And I think you know what I chose, but not by myself. I said to God, “ok, if this is truly what you want me to do, then set the wheels in motion, give me the words and guide me. And that is exactly what happened next and why I am sharing this.
I became a Christian at 13 although I haven’t been consistently committed to that. The past several years I have been in a Bible study group at Mt. Bethel, the JC Girls (Jana Combs or Jesus Christ, you pick), that has allowed me grow to where I am today with my faith and in my relationship with Jesus.
There really are no words to express my gratitude for Jana’s willingness to be obedient to God calling her in leading our group and for the commitment of each group member. Jana has such a servant’s heart and puts so much into what we do. She truly listens for God’s direction. How awesome it is to be led by someone who is not just going through the workbook. We are a group of ladies who meet once a week to learn the teachings of God and how to apply them. But we are so much more than that! We are bonded together by our love for the Lord and wanting to deepen our relationship and faith. God wants us to be in fellowship with other Christians, to learn his word, to support and encourage one another. Jesus designed it that way on purpose. Just look at the 12 disciples. Each one of us in the group is at a different place with our faith and in our lives but it so comforting to know that this is also by design, and it’s ok. I am accepted for who I am and where I am in my faith-walk. We don’t all always have the same view point but how wonderful it is that we can express ourselves without fear of being judged. Each of us brings our own God-given uniqueness to the group. How boring would it be if we were all the same? We share our joys and concerns knowing everything we say is in confidence. We laugh (sometimes way too much!), and we cry. I cannot tell you what a blessing it is to know that these girls pray for me and the whole group daily and what a privilege it is to pray for them! Oh the praying we do! We also volunteer in the church and outside and have social gatherings. And we study God’s word. Not just chapters in the Bible but real applicable stuff for today like “The Seven Pillars of Health.” Jana carefully and prayerfully guides us in each study. We recently did a study on “Experiencing God.” If it weren’t for that study I am not sure I would have recognized God’s plan this morning or, if I had, that I would have accepted His plan for me. Looking back over the past year, I can honestly say that it was the JC Girls Bible study (and God’s divine plan) that has brought me to where I am today. My faith and my relationship with Jesus is so much more than I ever thought it could be. I am no longer bound by fear but by faith (I continue to pray). That doesn’t mean I don’t have fear, but now I am not controlled or consumed by it. I have faith in a loving God who has a plan and a purpose for my life. I have come to understand for me that faith isn’t just walking blindly, following the bread crumbs, but it is knowledge of God’s word and how to apply it daily, even minute by minute, in my life. God has provided me the opportunity to know Him more through the JC Girls Bible study group. Yes, I still have a long list of questions and a long way to go (be patient with my imperfectness), but I know that God is working in me and around me. What a blessing that is!
I love these girls; Jana, Lauren, Gretchen, Sharon, Kathy, Jane, Dawn, Melody and the ones who have answered God’s call to do other things. These girls are God’s gift to me, and I am forever grateful He placed them in my life! I cannot imagine the past year or the next without the JC Girls. I cannot imagine the past year or the next without God! I am grateful to Mt. Bethel for allowing us to meet and for allowing Jana to lead us.
I hope and pray that you will ask God to guide you to a Bible study group that He has designed just for you. I pray we will all experience God each and every day!
Patti Clark, Member of JC Girls